Junkyard Find: 1976 Chevrolet Nova

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1976 chevrolet nova

I see many Corolla-based, NUMMI-built Novas in my junkyard travels, but the earlier rear-wheel-drive X-body Nova has become a fairly rare sight in self-service wrecking yards during the last decade or so. Other than a handful of factory-performance versions, 1970s Novas were disposable, cheap transportation appliances, and so the ones that haven’t been crushed by now tend to be nicely restored and/or drag racers. Still, I find a few; we’ve seen this ’77 two-door, this rare ’73 hatchback, this ’79 Oldsmobile Omega (one of GM’s many adventures in X-body badge engineering), and this ’78 Cadillac Seville Elegante (one of GM’s many adventures in Cadillac brand dilution) so far, and now we’ve got this ’76 in California.

I’ve owned one of these cars (a 250-powered two-door purchased for $100, or maybe it was $50), and it was a total hooptie that wasn’t much fun to drive but always ran. You can make them dangerously quick with a small-block Chevy equipped with cheapo bolt-on performance parts, of course.

This one was called “CHEVY RYDER,” or maybe it was owned by someone who called himself by that name. I’m guessing that Mr. CHEVY RYDER now drives the BONE-MERO.

The engine is gone from this car, but we can assume that it had a badass hood scoop of some sort.

It’s possible that CHEVY RYDER had a whole fleet of X-bodies and stripped the interior and powertrain out of this one before transplanting its parts into a nice one.

Apparently there is at least one of these cars in Israel.

The earlier version of the Nova was a much better automobile than O.J. Simpson.

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2 of 58 comments
  • Volt 230 Volt 230 on Jun 17, 2015

    These were much better than the ones that replaced them. On paper, not so but in reality, yes!

  • Ernesto vodka Ernesto vodka on Oct 26, 2016

    Well, in Chili do you find it for $764 (to repair) but it's a price to pay when you fall in love

  • ToolGuy You coulda said "Jeep Tomahawks Cherokee" -- just sayin.
  • Jimbo1126 Jeep doesn't have even one appealing product in their current lineup, no matter how nice the lighting makes the interiors look in the Wagoneer ad photos.
  • Gabe Disappointing news. Cheapest manual Bronco I have seen was still listed for $5K over MSRP. I'm sure there is a dealer somewhere that will sell at MSRP, maybe, maybe not now.
  • MrIcky Cool, another product for Ford not to fulfill orders of.
  • MrIcky Tacomas are the most overrated truck on the market. I hope they: beef up the frame (box it) , beef up the cv joints, make the interior useful for people over 5'10, etc.